Trust a law firm that knows the Island property market

Buying your first home can be exciting but hugely daunting. Here, Eldridges solicitor Jason Van der Helstraete answers those all-important questions. 

Q) How do you help first-time buyers? 
A) We are very mindful that buying your own home is a big deal. It’s exciting but stressful, so part of what we do is ease the process by explaining everything in layman’s terms and making sure everyone understands what is going to happen, why things happen and what the next steps are. 

We also understand it’s a huge financial commitment, and there’s often an emotional attachment to the property if hearts are set on it, which makes it difficult if things go wrong. 

Q) Could you briefly explain the buying process? 
A) You have found a property and your offer has been accepted, you need to instruct a lawyer or conveyancer to act on your behalf. 

They will receive the contract documentation from the seller’s lawyer and check through the legal title, boundary ownership, any disputes with neighbours, details of guarantees for works carried out to the property, any planning permission and building regulation approval for structural alterations. 

They also carry out searches of the local authority, water board and Environment Agency. 

The mortgage lender instructs the solicitor to ensure the property is good security for their loan. Once everyone is happy, you can exchange contracts and pay your deposit, which creates a binding agreement. 

It is always a relief to get to that stage. On the day of completion, monies are transferred, legal ownership is transferred to you and you can collect the keys. 

Following completion, your lawyer pays any stamp duty and arranges for registration of the title into your name. 

Q) What are the pitfalls? 
A) It can be frustrating if the property is in a chain, as it only goes as fast as the slowest link. If someone in the chain pulls out, it may mean the chain collapses and you cannot proceed, which could be costly to you. 

Most transactions complete in eight to ten weeks but some are dogged by delays, such as something cropping up in the searches. 

Sometimes there are also problems getting a mortgage. But we will keep the communication 

channels open and be there at every stage. 

Q) Is there an average first-time buyer? 
A) There’s a broad spectrum. These days people don’t necessarily buy their first home in their early twenties. 

Some do, but others can be much older. There is also a wide range of budgets, some have an £80,000 budget, then others will come in spending £200,000 or more. 

Q) Why choose Eldridges? 

A) At Eldridges we have a team of property lawyers but you’ll instruct one particular solicitor and they will be with you throughout the entire process, from the first phone call to the day you get your keys. 

We feel the personal touch is very important for all buyers but it is especially helpful for first-time buyers as they can rest assured we are only a phone call, e-mail or meeting away. 

We also know the local property scene very well. Eldridges has been serving Island people since 1832. 


Buying your first home can be exciting but hugely daunting. Here, Eldridges solicitor Jason Van der Helstraete answers those all-important questions.